WeedLife News Network
Cannabis dispensary professionals are all too familiar with constantly juggling their inventory, customer engagement programs, employee success efforts, and everything in between. On top of the day-to-day grind, dispensaries are under do-or-die pressure to maintain pristine records to stay compliant with local and state policies. If they fail to do so, dispensaries run the risk of being fined up to hundreds of thousands of dollars and potentially having to close up shop.
Two technology-focused entrepreneurs, Cree Robinson and Louis Masensi, are hoping to simplify this process with their new software company touCanna, which automates and connects all of a dispensary’s work in one place.
The pair decided to launch into entrepreneurship after years working in tech, and learning that the corporate world wasn’t always welcoming of new ideas. Tired of hearing the words, “Your ideas are great, but that’s just not how we do things here,” they wanted more freedom to create and help make people’s lives easier. So they chose to use their tech skills to empower cannabis dispensaries.
"I was determined to create within spaces where women and people of color had been excluded from or did not have as much opportunity as other groups," says Robinson. "We're both long time believers in cannabis and have seen first hand the power of its healing capabilities, so getting involved was a no-brainer." With set goals and a vision in place by summer 2018, the pair chose to understand and solve dispensary pain points rather than the entire supply chain.
Dispensary owners and operators face many challenges, from staying on top of the changing laws and making sure they remain compliant, all the way to managing the smallest details of their employee workforce. After analyzing dispensary operations across the country, Robinson and Masensi noticed two things:
CBD products continue to thrive in various industries such as healthcare, cosmetics, hospitality, food, pharmaceuticals, and pet care, among others. Hemp-derived products are expected to saturate huge industries in the years to come; in fact, the CBD market is foreseen to surpass the $20 billion mark by 2024.
This is no surprise at all, as CBD continues to gain popularity ever since the legalization of cannabis as an agricultural crop in the United States. More and more countries are considering the same, so we can all expect the market growth to remain exponential in the next few years.
Producers rely on technology to create leverage in coming up with new and innovative methods. How is technology reshaping the industry now, and what can we expect in the near future?
Genetic engineering has been around for a while now, with food items being bioengineered in different ways; and it is probably just a matter of time before we have genetically-engineered cannabis, as well. CanBreed, an Israel-based company founded in 2017, was able to secure a patent and hold a license to use genetic-editing technology in cannabis products. CanBreed claims that using stable seeds partnered with CRISPR technology, inherent challenges in cannabis farming will be addressed. These challenges include cost, sensitivity to humidity, and genetic instability, to name a few. The company believes that they can help optimize farming by editing specific cannabis genes and traits. CanBreed still has to overcome a lot of hurdles especially in terms of regulation in order to expand, but it is worth noting that such innovation in cannabis farming is now in the works.
CBD bioavailability or the amount of CBD in one’s bloodstream as a result of traditional ways of consuming CBD products is very low. That is because CBD is naturally not soluble in water, but soluble in fat. Humans have more water than fat in our system, so most of the CBD taken in are flushed out of the system together with urine, leaving only around 20% of the CBD consumed. Enter, nanotechnology. Nano CBD is being marketed as “water-soluble.” However, that might be erroneous because CBD’s hydrophobic nature cannot change no matter how small you make its particles. But, it is worth noting that nano CBD are small enough to pass through membranes that normal-sized CBD particles cannot penetrate; so, in theory, nanotechnology can increase CBD bioavailability. Although it needs further research, we might be looking at a future where Nano CBD may be favored over regular CBD.
Cannabis has been used for its antimicrobial properties for thousands of years, but only recently have these benefits surfaced in Western medicine. A recent study highlights previously unknown antimicrobial properties of cannabis.
While the study focuses on several cannabinoids, it brings out CBG as a cannabinoid to pay attention to in terms of its antibiotic abilities.
What is CBG?
CBG – cannabigerol – is a cannabinoid of the cannabis plant. Unlike it’s counterparts THC and CBD, it is found in only very small quantities, making up approximately 1% of a harvest-ready plant. Like CBD, and unlike THC, it doesn’t produce a psychoactive effect. CBG comes from its acidic precursor, CBGA. CBGA in turn is converted into cannabinoids like THCA – tetrahydrocannabinolic acid, CBDA – cannabidiolic acid, and CBCA – cannabichromenic acid. What is left of the CBGA converts to CBG through decarboxylation. This is why so little of the plant is made of CBG.
CBG has been cited already as an anti-cancer agent, and now adds antibiotic to its repertoire of uses.
Cannabis concentrates have become quite popular over the last couple of years. They are commonly used for their potent and high-intensity medicinal effects. Though most cannabis enthusiasts know how to use cannabis concentrates, very few are aware of how they are made.
Therefore, if you are interested in the science that goes behind cannabis concentrates, you have come to the right post. Today we are going to take a deep dive into the process of extracting concentrates from cannabis buds, so keep reading, and all of your questions will be answered.
What are cannabis concentrates?
In broad terms, a cannabis concentrate is anything that is made by extracting compounds like cannabinoids and terpenes. There are various types of concentrates, which are used for different purposes. The method that was used for extraction, or the base strain or bud that is used, determines the attributes of the final concentrate.
However, one thing that all concentrates have in common is that they are significantly more potent than regular marijuana.
They can be used for both recreational and medical purposes; however, the increased potency makes them quite suitable for medical use in severe cases.
The cannabis plant produces literally hundreds of specialized molecules — cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids — that have been shown to deliver medicinal efficacy, lifestyle enhancement and even performance enhancement to human beings. For those afflicted with disease, medical cannabis has been found to offer a wide range of health benefits, from killing cancerous tumors to alleviating the pain of arthritis to reducing the number of seizures experienced by epileptic children.
Of these molecules, cannabinoids are the most cited and understood. The most infamous cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the molecule responsible for most of the psychoactive (psychotropic) and euphoric effects of cannabis, but that also has been found to successfully treat serious conditions, such as PTSD and cancer. Another notable cannabinoid is cannabidiol (CBD), a mostly non-psychoactive chemical that has been found to provide a wide range of medicinal benefits, including reductions in pain, anxiety and depression.
Endocannabinoids vs. Phytocannabinoids
First discovered in 1964 by Israeli researcher Raphael Mechoulam, phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant interact with the human body by mimicking the molecular characteristics of chemicals produced internally. Called endocannabinoids, these internally manufactured molecules include anandamide and 2-AG.
Anandamide has been dubbed the “bliss molecule” because of its ability to decrease depression in humans. It plays a central role in the regulation and modulation of critical bodily functions such as mood, appetite, sleep, immune system efficiency and one’s ability to deal with stress and anxiety.
Synthetic cannabinoids emerged in the 1970s and are created in a laboratory. An example of it would be dronabinol (Δ9-THC synthetic), which is the active compound of Marinol, a medicine that comes in capsules and has been consumed in the US since 1985 to prevent nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and loss of weight.
Nextage Therapeutics has developed a system that allows cannabis molecules to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and reach the brain directly. The technology is based on research done at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and means that many side effects can be avoided and doses can be lowered in the medical use of cannabis.
Arguably the most popular cannabinoid on the planet right now is cannabidiol (CBD).
CBD’s popularity has grown exponentially in recent years.
In fact, CBD is searched for more often on Google compared to THC, and that has been the case for a handful of years now.
The rise in popularity for CBD has been paralleled by CBD’s availability in most countries.
People can purchase CBD products almost anywhere, from gas stations to online platforms.
We live in a world of synthetics. Most of our clothing is no longer cotton, but a mix of plastics. Much of our food is made of chemicals that can barely be pronounced. And now cannabis, our favorite smokable medicine and recreational pastime, might be replaced soon with legal synthetic cannabinoids.
It’s a world of synthetics
My mother used to work with a guy that had a great hookup for getting Coach bags. For anyone unfamiliar with the brand, Coach produces high quality leather bags, that come with a nice high price tag. My mother was buying tons of them, passing them on as gifts, and using a different one herself every day. They weren’t real of course, although I don’t remember how she found this out. They were knock-offs. Products that looked almost exactly the same, that felt almost exactly the same, but were actually made of entirely different materials, and overall of lesser quality. My mother was very unhappy when she realized what was going on, and never spoke again to her workmate who had bamboozled her, but buying synthetic products is pretty standard, and a lot of the time, most people never know that what they have isn’t the real thing.
Aren’t synthetic cannabinoids already a big thing?
Yes! Massive! In fact, if you read around the internet, you might get a little confused. Every time you see words like ‘spice’ and ‘k2’ being spoken about in reference to cannabis, its referring to synthetic cannabinoids. So, what’s the difference between these synthetic cannabinoids, and the legal synthetic cannabinoids that biotech industries are rushing to create and put on the market? Good question. While large biotech firms have the money and ability to make different concoctions, they aren’t technically producing anything terribly far off from the illegal version that people are constantly being warned against with terror stories of a few people dead over years of time. In the article cited it should be noted that most of the deaths weren’t even attributed to the synthetic cannabis, but rather a rat poison contaminant. Of course, somehow, those stories are all forgotten, or pushed aside, when the synthetics being spoken about come from companies that can sell their products above board, and have them taxed by the government. Funny how that works, right? While I suppose one could make the argument that its regulated vs unregulated, and that one is more dangerous than the other, the lack of relevant deaths from the unregulated version (no matter how much the very few that occur are publicized, let’s remember what it really means to have an epidemic of overdoses), and the standard story of putting down the one that doesn’t make the government tax dollars, while promoting the one that does – and which brings billions to large biotech companies – isn’t an unfamiliar story at all. So no, synthetic cannabis is far from new. I was smoking Mr. Nice Guy in Tel Aviv 10 years ago, and word on the street back then is that it was all synthetics. Now, with a massive 180º, the very thing being warned against constantly, is now the new thing being pushed by large biotech corporations.
Raw marijuana doesn’t have THC, but this doesn’t mean that the the plant in it’s natural state isn’t healthy or worth trying.
A lot of amateur cannabis users don’t know the details about cooking with cannabis. They might think that adding raw marijuana leaves to their sweets and dishes might produce some sort of effect. While this isn’t at all true, raw marijuana does have some interesting health benefits.
Not that long ago, researchers began to notice the benefits of the other parts of the cannabis plant, removing their focus from THC and CBD. These compounds and terpenes are plentiful and vastly different, to a point where researchers don’t even know how many there are and what their effects are in full.
Consuming raw cannabis has been likened to eating leafy greens. While the plant in this state won’t get you high or produce any psychoactive effects, it might help in preventing diseases, providing vitamins, minerals and cannabinoids. It most likely will taste really bad.
For the THC in the cannabis plant to become effective — providing the high and the sensation of relaxation or creativity — the plant needs to go through decarboxylation. It’s the process many unfortunately skip before eating marijuana (edibles). Decarboxylation occurs when you apply heat to the plant, be that when smoking a joint or when preheating cannabis before adding it in to your edibles.
This holiday shopping season will be longer and less traditional than ever.
This year, it’s being ushered in earlier and with far less fanfare.
Many retail trackers will begin their official holiday tracking October 13.
Best Buy’s new “Black Friday” and the start of Amazon’s Prime Day, rescheduled from its July launch due to COVID-19.
Holiday shoppers traditional buying preferences and patterns are shifting, too.
When discussing sustainable cannabis, talk typically leans toward water conservation or energy efficiency. But, there are several overlooked areas of cannabis cultivation that are desperately in need of a sustainability overhaul.
Consider, for example, how much biomass is required to make cannabinoid isolates. Or, have you ever wondered how many outdoor plants are discarded every day due to mold, heat stroke, or wind damage?
Selective breeding could hold the key to addressing some of these issues and developing more resilient, vigorous varieties.
CEO of Trilogene Seeds Matt Haddad shared how his company works to solve these issues by breeding customized plant varieties. They analyze the grower’s outdoor environment and determine which varieties will perform the best in those conditions.
Haddad explains, “We work with farmers to find the right plants for their respective environments then bring the plants back to our facilities so we can do breeding to mimic those environments. Then the next year, we provide a superior product than the year before. That helps their quality, yield, pest resistance, and mold resistance.”
Many cannabis flowers are dried and cured before going to market, but live products are crafted using flower that is taken fresh off the plant. The flavor and aromatic notes are robust and more closely resemble that of the live cannabis plant than other concentrates. This may be why live resin products are in such high demand in all adult-use cannabis markets. Consumers don’t just dab live resin, they are also buying live vape cartridges. According to statistics from the BDSA Green Edge platform, live resin captures a 22% share of California’s vape market.
Research-focused terpene company Eybna Technologies noticed the market’s natural preference for live resin and sought to understand why these products were more desirable to the consumer. To do this, the terpene profile of a few cannabis plants were studied at three phases. The data was collected from the plant using the company’s proprietary Headspace technology which can provide insight into the chemical makeup of flowering plants. Headspace technology is a tool traditionally used in the fragrance industry to capture the makeup of plants at their aromatic peak. This is the first time the technology has been used for researching the cannabis plant.
All plants used in this study were grown in controlled conditions in a medical cannabis greenhouse. Researchers used Headspace tech to collect data from multiple top colas on the same plant to cut down the possibility for error. The study was focused on monitoring the patterns of terpene change throughout the cannabis life cycle in hopes of revealing the phytochemical difference between cured and live plant profiles.
The Headspace technology utilizes an adsorbent fiber located within a hollow glass dome to collect various volatile compounds from the live plant. Using this fiber, terpene content was collected at 3 stages: from fresh colas on the live plant, after they had been dried for one week, and again after being dried and cured.
As expected, the results offer insight into which terpenes degraded/evaporated and which preserved at various points of production from the farm to the dispensary shelf. Findings show that at the fresh, planted state, a cultivar has the highest expression of monoterpenes like Beta Myrcene, Alpha Pinene, Beta Pinene, and Limonene. After one week of drying and curing, each of these terpenes decreased significantly — Beta Myrcene content decreased by 55%. While monoterpenes were decreased during the curing process, sesquiterpenes like Alpha Humulene and Beta-Caryophyllene were increased. Sesquiterpenes almost doubled in their ratio from the total terpene content in data taken after the harvest processes were complete, with Alpha-Humulene increasing 100% and Germacrene increasing 154%.
A cannabis product may fail contaminant testing if it has unsafe levels of microbials, heavy metals or pesticides.
While cannabis has many beneficial properties for both medical and recreational users, it also comes with intrinsic dangers like mold and yeast.
Growing cannabis sometimes involves pesticides, and the water can be polluted.
Most states where cannabis is legal have enacted legislation that requires companies to pass tests before releasing their product on the market. This, in turn, created a problem for companies that must ensure their product is safe and compliant with all regulations.
Luckily, the demand for a pure cannabis spurred the development of decontamination technology.
Whether sprinkled in a spliff or used as papers for a blunt, tobacco has been marijuana’s closest companion for millennia. The interaction between the two substances seems to vary from person to person nearly as much as cannabis alone.
Anecdotally, people report a variety of interactions, with some people saying that tobacco smooths out their high, and others saying it provides a stimulating kick. As with cannabis itself, it is difficult to anticipate how a new user will react, due to the myriad chemical and psychological factors at play.
A Heady Combination
A major question in evaluating the cannabis-tobacco interaction is whether their effects are simply added together, or if the plants change one another. Spliffs are often the preferred consumption method for people who want to modulate their cannabis intake, but one study published in the research journal Inhalation Toxicology suggests that there may be a countervailing force: tobacco was found to increase THC intake by as much as 45 percent.
Studies of how cannabis and tobacco interact on one’s body and brain are out there, but the research is limited and the conclusions don’t venture much beyond associations and correlations. Regular blunt smoking is associated with greater cannabis dependence, as is the practice of chasing a joint with some nicotine. Tobacco has well-known addictive properties, and it’s not clear if smoking the two together makes one addicted to cannabis itself, or if the dependence is predominantly one on nicotine, with cannabis simply along for the ride.
Another study found that cannabis can satisfy a desire for tobacco, but not the other way around — specifically among people who smoke more than a joint a month, but fewer than three a week. Does that suggest that cannabis can substitute for tobacco, or just that spliff smokers are mostly in it for the weed, with tobacco thrown in for taste and a little extra buzz?
Advertising and location of cannabis retailers influence adolescents’ intentions to use marijuana, according to a new study. The new study led by Washington State University researchers was published in the Journal of Health Communication. Stacey JT Hust, associate dean in the Murrow College of Communication, and Jessica Fitts Willoughby, associate professor of communication, conducted a survey of 13- to 17-year-old in Washington to find out how marijuana advertising and the location of marijuana retailers influence adolescents’ intentions to use the drug. The researchers also asked participants about their outcome beliefs--whether or not they thought using marijuana would be good for them personally and or socially. Their research shows regular exposure to marijuana advertising on storefronts, billboards, retailer websites and other locations increased the likelihood of adolescents using marijuana.
“While there are restrictions against using advertising designed specifically to target youth, it does still appear to be having some influence,” Willoughby said. “Our research suggests a need to equip adolescents with the knowledge and skills to critically evaluate marijuana advertisements.” The location of retail stores also played a role but the results of the survey were mixed. While the actual density of marijuana retailers in an area was not associated with adolescents’ intentions to use, study participants who said they lived within five miles of a marijuana shop were more likely to report intentions to use the drug than those who perceived they lived farther away.
“This was especially the case when they also reported having positive beliefs about marijuana use,” Hust said. “The study participants who felt positively about marijuana and perceived living close to retailers were the most likely to report intentions to use marijuana.” The results of the research team’s study could have significant policy implications as states that have legalised recreational marijuana use grapple with ways to adhere to the drug’s legal status while trying to prevent adolescent marijuana use.
For instance, most states with legalised marijuana restrict placing retailers and advertisements next to schools, but other locations, where adolescents live and spend a lot of their time, remain largely unregulated. “Our findings are particularly relevant given that most states that have legalised recreational marijuana have not restricted their proximity to neighbourhoods or living areas, which may be particularly challenging in large metropolitan areas,” Hust said. “States may want to consider using census data to identify the proportion of teens living in particular areas as they identify the location for marijuana retailers.”
The researchers are currently in the process of conducting a new experiment where they are testing different types of advertisements to see how young people interpret and respond to them. “One of the things this research and other studies suggest is that these advertisements are pretty prolific in certain areas and we want to see what type of appeals are used in the advertisements and how those appeals affect viewers,” Hust said. “Our long-term goal is really to develop a better understanding of how adolescents can make healthy and informed decisions in an environment in which marijuana is legal.”
Many people around the world are discovering the benefits of medicinal cannabis. With its growing integration into modern medical practices, technology is also evolving to deliver greater quality and service to consumers.
From senior citizens to young adults with chronic health conditions, medical marijuana is a diverse industry that requires flexible, personal, and responsive technology. The emerging trends reflect increased legalization. As procedures change, the way people use technology to get medical marijuana will change. Here are some of the trends you can expect to see in the coming years.
Chatbots on websites will become more common as they help customers get answers to common questions and connect with important resources. AI will also be able to help customers search for different products, make personalized recommendations and perform a variety of customer service tasks. AI learns how to interact with people through every conversation; the more people use it, the smarter it becomes. Initial AI bots may seem clunky and mechanical, but as they become more widespread, users will eventually barely notice a difference between assistance from an AI and human.
From a business standpoint, AI will also begin to be used to automate more operations. AI is capable of monitoring growth and synthesizing information at a rate no human could ever match; higher demand for medical marijuana will require faster production. AI reduces the margin of error to ensure the cannabis remains safe despite
New DNA technology will create a more regulated cannabis industry, including medical marijuana products that contain not even trace amounts of THC or CBD. Growers will then be able to customize or strengthen the medicinal benefits to suit people’s needs and serve a greater audience. Extracting genes and creating new types will pave the way for unprecedented evolutionary growth and use of the plant. With the ability to deconstruct, extract, and modify, there may eventually be a new type of manufacturing that replicates the compounds of medical marijuana without actually requiring a plant.
For many who choose to live and work in Northern Colorado’s agricultural communities, there’s more to love than just the picturesque mountains in the distance or the easy accessibility to major metropolitan hubs like Denver and Fort Collins.
The area provides access to ag-based educational opportunities, industry partnerships, and processing facilities that just aren’t available in many parts of the country.
Creating a Knowledge Base
Owner of Hemp Processing Partners Shane Pritchard is opening an industrial hemp collaboration hub and laboratory in Greeley later this year.
He explained why the area is such an ideal fit: “Greeley and Weld County are very strong agricultural areas and we have access to agricultural universities, with Colorado State University in Fort Collins, the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, and Aims Community College. So there are good educational resources there and a lot of really productive agricultural land.”
Hemp Ventures is a hemp processing and technologies company led by CEO Ryan Doherty.
The largest wildfire in the history of California, the August Complex, is still burning.
It has scorched more than a million acres in Northern California and is threatening three counties, Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity, that have the largest concentration of cannabis farms in the U.S., reports Inside Climate News.
According to local law enforcement officials, many growers have defied evacuation orders to stay behind and protect their crops and livelihoods.
As California cycles though wildfires and droughts with increasing intensity and severity, cannabis farmers and the medical patients they serve, are under threat.
“Fires are just a way of life at this point,” David Najera, a cannabis farmer in Mendocino County, recently told The Source. “We’ve already broken the record for most acres burned in history, and we haven’t even gotten to the worst part of the season,” Najera said.
Measure 110 would reduce all drug possession arrests to misdemeanors and cause all drug convictions to drop by 91%.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan have put their weight behind a measure to decriminalize all drugs in Oregon. The couple contributed $500,000 to the campaign, which would also earmark a significant amount of state cannabis tax revenue toward substance abuse treatment.
Measure 110, the ballot item in question, aims to change the narrative around drug use in the state. Instead of treating drug users as criminals, campaign organizers believe substance abuse should be treated as a public health issue.
“The war on drugs has created stereotypes and misinformation about people who are addicted to drugs and people who use drugs and made it easy to make it afraid of people who use drugs,” Yes on 110 campaign manager Peter Zuckerman told The Willamette Week. “Our biggest obstacle is the stigma.”
The Facebook couple became the second biggest financial backers of Measure 110 with their donation, made through their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Advocacy. Drug Policy Action, an advocacy organization under the Drug Policy Alliance, contributed around $2.5 million when the campaign was gathering signatures to qualify for the polls, The Oregonian reports. Since making it on the ballot, Drug Policy Action made a $862,000 to raise voter awareness about the measure.
Cannabis in cosmetics is becoming a big thing all over the world, but what laws are there to govern the industry, and which parts of the plant can be used?
Much like nearly everything else pertaining to cannabis, different locations have their own specifications. In the US, for example, the FDA has made no official move to set regulatory standards for cannabis in cosmetics, though it has been spending time trying to get a handle on CBD in general. As of the last farm bill, industrial hemp with THC amounts of up to .3% is legal for industrial use, with some gray area over the use of cannabinoid preparations, which still mainly remain illegal.
When looking at regulation for something like cannabis in cosmetics, there are two main factors to consider: 1) the THC content, since nearly all cannabis cosmetics will be focused around CBD, and 2) which part of the plant is used for the raw materials, as some countries have different stipulations here.
Cannabis Cosmetics in the US of A
An important thing to understand about the US is that the FDA, under the FD&C Act, isn’t required to approve cosmetic products or ingredients, with the exception of many color additives, and any substance that is prohibited or restricted otherwise.
In fact, most people have probably already noticed the message found on many herbal products that says “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.” The products they’re found on aren’t illegal, just simply not under regulation by the FDA, or legally requiring of it.
As of right now, no cannabis, or cannabis-derived ingredients, are specifically banned from cosmetics as they are not specifically addressed by the law. This doesn’t mean that such products get out of being up to code for all other requirements and regulations, even if not specifically mentioned.